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Celebrating difficult journeys: what Pride means to me by Shaun Frazao

It’s June! Which means it’s the season for rainbow logos floundering about on LinkedIn. As a gay man, Pride is an important month for visibility and representation, two very affirming factors for the LGBTQ+ community. So let’s not get lost in all the corporate rainbows, and remember the importance of Pride to individuals.

Pride is about recognising those journeys that many face and continue to face. It’s about the out-of-place feeling we carried with us from a young age. It’s about the tears we left on the playground when bullies told us what we were before we knew. It’s about all the slurs of shame, which we picked up and made our own. It’s about all the girlfriends’ hearts that we broke because we thought maybe if I just find the “right” girl, I might not be this way.

It’s about the church we grew up in reminding us that we are going to hell for something we have no control over. It’s about waiting for the same-sex kiss scene on TV to happen, just for the camera to pan away at that moment. It’s about still trying to deal with the stigma of AIDS (even 40 years later). It’s about researching whether you are allowed to hold your partner’s hand before you book a trip to a foreign country.

It’s about consistently needing to overachieve because then maybe others won’t see the insecurity of a person who still hasn’t found their place at the table. It’s about waiting for the right to marriage, and to this day still not seeing a healthy LGBTQ protagonist that doesn’t get killed, or sidelined but gets married with a happy ending. It’s about not having enough LGBTQ bosses, CEO’s, Presidents and World Leaders to look up to.

It’s about family who might not ever speak to you again, and new family that will be with you at every step of the journey. It’s about our private, somewhat dirty humour, which you won’t know if you aren’t gay. It’s about the glances across parks, and malls, and dance floors and asking your friend “is he…you know”.

It’s about the unmistakable sass that comes with being part of the LGBTQ vernacular: it’s the swish, the slay, the yaaaas kweens – the contrapposto.

Celebrating pride is more than just a rainbow logo. It’s about celebrating difficult journeys that have happened, and continue to happen – and reminding people, that regardless of your journey, if you hold on long enough and keep going, eventually you will step out into the sun.

Shaun Frazao
Global Strategy Partner, Wavemaker Worldwide

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